Finding out which is your dominant hand can make a huge difference in the progress of your putting.
How many putts you hole is dependent on 4 things:
- how smoothly the putter head moves through the impact area
- where on the ball it’s struck by the putter (target: just below the equator)
- where the ball is struck on the face of the putter (target: perfectly center)
- how square the putter head is to the ball to target line
The closer we get to hitting all four of these objectives, the more consistent the roll will be and the more putts we’ll hole.
One of the breakthroughs I made in my putting, was when I discovered that my left hand is better at controlling the putter head through impact (achieving the 4 goals above). I now allow it to play a greater role in every putt and my right hand is just along for the ride. Note: Your dominant putting hand is not necessarily the hand you write with. Once I started making this part of my practice sessions, I saw a big drop in my putts per round.
How to find out which hand is dominant in your putting stroke
Just like eye dominance, hand dominance in putting varies from player to player, the important thing is to find out which one it is (now) and here’s how:
- Take the putter in one hand (right or left) and make a few strokes. Notice the feeling of each stroke. At first it might feel jerky and unnatural, but you’ll quickly get the hang of it and the strokes will become smoother
- Allow a little wrist break. There needs to be some flow to it to develop feel and soft touch. Tension free stroke will produce the best results
- Putt 6 balls with your left hand from 10-12 ft
- Putt 6 balls with your right hand from 10-12 ft
- Rate your performance with each hand for this range (one will have a better feel)
- Repeat the drill above with putt from 6ft and then 3 ft (one will be better at keeping the ball on line)
- From these putts, you’ll start to get a clear idea of which hand is the better putting hand.
Once you’ve determined this you’re a massive step closer to better putting. During your practice sessions (not on the course), you can start making your stroke about that hand and using the other hand to simply guide the stroke.
Tiger Woods Putting Drill
Tiger’s probably the best putter there’s ever been at making clutch putts within 6ft and it’s because he understands that his dominant hand needs to be in control to keep the stroke consistent under pressure (hence his drill in the video above).
Here’s Tiger’s Right Hand Putting Drill. If you’re left hand dominant, you’ll be doing it with your left hand:
- About 3 ft from the hole, push 2 tees into the green, so the putter head can just fit between them.
- Hit 12 putts with your right and then 6 with both hands on the putter, until you make 50 or more in a row. If you miss, start over
On short putts, it’s key to keep the stroke smooth – straight back and straight through, if it’s not, you’ll hit one of the tees.
Tiger draws a line on one half of the ball (you can buy a tool to help you do this with a sharpie), which helps with alignment and seeing how true the roll is (the line will stay straight if there’s been no spin put on the ball but top-spin).
Give these a try, find out your dominant hand and make a good part of your practice session about reinforcing the feeling of the dominant hand and remembering that feeling when you’re on the course.